New Toyota Corolla estate shown
Built on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) chassis, the Corolla's platform ensures that everything in the car is lower than the old Auris: the centre-of-gravity has dropped 10mm, the bonnet height 47mm and the hip points for passengers are down. The body shell is also 60 per cent more rigid than it was previously, while it's also super-tough to ensure the Toyota should do well in Euro NCAP safety testing.
That also means the Corolla twins are low, sleek and good-looking machines. The Touring Sports, to kick things off, is 58mm longer than the old Auris estate and its wheelbase is stretched by 100mm to 2,700mm in total, allowing for 'class-leading rear legroom' of 928mm (+48mm). Everything from the Touring Sports' B-pillar back is changed from the Corolla hatchback's bodywork, while full LED lamp clusters at the rear sit beneath a window that's raked forward 12 degrees more than the Auris predecessor's. A total of five 17- and 18-inch alloy wheel designs, plus 11 body colours (four of which are new, namely Oxide Bronze Metallic, Emotional Red 2, Precious Silver and Phantom Brown), ensure there's plenty of choice for the Corolla Touring Sports, while four optional two-tone colour schemes paint the roof, roof pillars and front lower grille surround black.
The superb cabin of the C-HR has been used as the benchmark for the cabin of the Corolla. The instrument panel is 24mm narrower, aiming to improve the feeling of spaciousness within. Meanwhile, the centre console has widened by 42mm and moved up by 22mm, to improve ergonomics and wrap around the driver. Revised front seat designs aim to provide greater occupant comfort, with sports seats an option on higher-spec models.
Toyota's Touch 2 infotainment and the major visuals are provided by a human-machine interface (HMI) that comes on either a 3D instrument cluster, or multifunction display, with a 10-inch colour head-up display and an eight-inch central multimedia screen providing the maximum of functionality. Other features include an electronic parking brake, wireless smartphone charging and a self-dimming rear-view mirror. In terms of boot space, the Touring Sports has a minimum of 598 litres of capacity and a powered tailgate, to make accessing the cargo area easier.
The Corolla twins use both powerplants currently found in the C-HR. That means a 1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with 116hp kicks things off, while the 122hp 1.8-litre hybrid drivetrain is the next step up; Toyota says it has worked on the 1.8 to make it quieter, cleaner and more efficient. The interesting bit comes when discussing the bigger, 180hp/192Nm 2.0-litre hybrid drivetrain. Rembert Serrus, the senior manager for Performance Planning, Toyota Motor Europe, explained its inclusion in the line-up: "At the start of the project, we studied European customer profiles and their satisfaction with the 1.8-litre hybrid powertrain. Whilst being very happy with the system's fuel consumption, comfort, smoothness and reliability, it became apparent that we would not be able to satisfy the requirements of a significant group of potential customers. People driving turbocharged powertrains above 1.4 litres were clearly asking for faster acceleration and response, and that's why we took the decision to develop the 2.0 litre hybrid for the European market."
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